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At exactly this stage before GE2017 punters rated TMay’s majority chances higher than they rate Johnson’s now

December 10th, 2019

The final few days of Betfair betting in June 2017

Remember Kinnock at GE1992

It is perhaps worth reminding ourselves what happened last time and how the received opinion of those who risk their money betting on politics got it totally wrong.

At exactly this point, 9.20am on the Tuesday beforehand, a CON majority traded at 81% on Betfair. Over the next two and half days it was to go even higher only for things to be brought back to earth by the exit poll at 2200 on the Thursday.

The fact that this was the pattern at the last election in no way means it is going to be pattern at this one and it said it might be that the polling is all wrong and that Johnson is heading for an even bigger majority than its being indicated at the moment.

I just wonder, and I throw this into the mix for discussion not because I believe it to be the case,  whether we could be seeing a 1992 situation. Then all the polls indicated that Neil kinnock’s LAB party was heading for victory and indeed after his famous Sheffield rally on the Friday before for it looked a near certainty. But of course it wasn’t and John Major came in with a surprise majority with a 7% popular vote margin that nothing  beforehand had indicated was going to happen.

In the post mortems afterwards a lot was put down to polling error and all the talk was about shy Tories who weren’t being recorded properly in the voting intention surveys. My view is very different because I was standing as a candidate in that election and I very much remember how on the Tuesday night beforehand the mood on the doorstep totally changed. The friendly receptions we’d been getting  in areas of the constituency where we knew we were strong suddenly changed. Nobody wanted to talk and and the reaction was very negative.

My reading of that election was that it was the apparent certainty of a Kinnock victory that caused voters to ponder as they made their mind up ahead of polling day day. Did they really want Kinnock to be there Prime Minister as was being widely predicted by just about all the pundits and the polls.

Looking back they weren’t voting for John Major but were rejecting Neil Kinnock.

Could that possibly happen with Mr Johnson? Maybe but probably not. I throw this into the discussion because things can happen in the final two days to turn an election.

Mike Smithson